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NYT: We ‘Should Have Included’ Source’s Industry Ties in Our Gulf Oil Spill Story

On Tuesday, we -- and others, including a UC Davis professor and an anonymous blog called the NYTPicker -- pointed out that a Page One news analysis in The New York Times quoted a nonprofit called the Gulf of Mexico Foundation, identifying it as a conservation group without mentioning the group's many ties to the oil industry. Today, the Times has an editor's note saying the story "should have included more information about the organization."

Here's the Times' note in full:

A front-page news analysis article on Tuesday discussed the uncertainty over the ultimate environmental impact of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. One expert quoted was Quenton R. Dokken, a marine biologist who is the executive director of the Gulf of Mexico Foundation. (He said the spill “isn’t the end of the Gulf of Mexico,” but also said that “we’ve always got to ask ourselves how long can we keep heaping these insults on the gulf and having it bounce back.”)

The article described the Gulf of Mexico Foundation simply as a conservation group. It should have included more information about the organization, a nonprofit group that says its mission is “to promote and facilitate conservation of the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico and its resources” through research and other programs. While the group says the majority of its funding comes from federal and state grants, it also receives some money from the oil industry and other business interests in the gulf, and includes industry executives on its board.

And here is our story, which includes responses from the Gulf of Mexico Foundation and one of the Times' reporters.

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